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Cambodia kicks off nuclear energy talks with Russia

People attend a meeting yesterday in Phnom Penh where Cambodia’s capacity to develop nuclear technology was discussed with Russian officials. Photo supplied
People attend a meeting yesterday in Phnom Penh where Cambodia’s capacity to develop nuclear technology was discussed with Russian officials. Photo supplied

Cambodia kicks off nuclear energy talks with Russia

Cambodian and Russian officials yesterday met to discuss how the two countries can bolster the Kingdom’s capacity to develop nuclear technology.

“We are going to focus mostly on human resource development to attract youth to the fields of science, math, physics and engineering, and we’re going to establish an information centre for nuclear technology,” confirmed Sok Kean, a Ministry of Environment representative.

Plans to establish a nuclear technology info-centre in Cambodia were first floated in 2015. The two countries later signed a series of memoranda to solidify their cooperation. But officials say that nuclear energy remains a long way away.

“There is no time frame for [the development of] a nuclear reactor,” Kean said. “We still have to study the feasibility of this, like looking at the financing, human resources, technology, public support, but especially human resources.”

Instead, Cambodia is focusing on ways to improve the use of nuclear technology in the fields of medicine, agriculture and construction, he added.

Rosatom, the Russian state nuclear firm, will assist in the development of the information centre. There are also discussions about providing scholarships to Cambodian students who want to study engineering, physics and other hard sciences in Russia, Kean said.

Meanwhile, Russian representatives touted their country’s role in Cambodia’s nuclear ambitions as part of a long history of support. “The USSR and the Russian Federation as its legal successor have always taken an active part in the development of Cambodia,” said Karina Orus-ool, at-taché at the Russian Embassy in Phnom Penh.

“Now, Russia will assist Cambodia to develop nuclear energy through sharing our experience and knowledge, and training Cambodian personnel.”

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